Skip to main content

What is a Digital Agency and What Do Digital Agencies Do?

Written by Samuel Pugh on .
A Digital Agency Team

In 2000, there were about 414 million internet users worldwide. In 2016, that number had risen to about 3.4 billion users. As of April 2022, there are around 5 billion internet users, and that number will probably have increased by the time this post goes out!

Thanks to this astronomical growth of internet users, advancements in technology, and the increased availability of that technology, the ways that businesses market themselves have changed substantially. We are, of course, talking about digital marketing.

The use of ‘traditional’ marketing techniques, such as billboards and tv commercials, is shrinking away (although it still has its place), and the use of the multifaceted digital landscape to market businesses is growing every day.

This shift towards digital is reflected in the stats. In the UK, there are 7,196 digital agencies who carry out digital marketing for businesses, with this market growing 9.2% per year on average between 2017 and 2022.

Furthermore, the marketing opportunities for smaller businesses have grown too. Whilst a small advert in the local newspaper might bring in a few customers, nowadays, with the use of digital marketing, small businesses can reach a much larger audience for their budget, while directly targeting the customers they want!

While some companies venture into this digital marketing world by themselves, learning as they go or using dedicated in-house teams, many companies outsource and hire expert digital agencies to carry out their digital marketing for them.

This article will explore and explain:

  • What is a digital agency?
  • What exactly do digital agencies offer?
  • What benefits can they bring to your business, big or small, compared to doing it yourself?

First up…

What is a Digital Agency?

A digital agency is effectively an outsourced team of experts in various marketing disciplines. One person can’t be an expert at everything, so digital agencies will hire experts in the different marketing fields to then work together as a marketing super team!

For example, a digital agency might have someone who’s great at web design, someone who’s a pro at copywriting, and perhaps a team of SEO experts. Their combined skills mean that not only can they design and build a quality website for you, they also understand how to get your website in front of your target audiences.

While you do get those that try to go it alone (i.e. one-man-band agencies, freelance digital marketers), they often can’t compete with what a collective agency can achieve with the combination of experts at their disposal.

If a business wants to improve its growth online and get out into the digital marketing world, it may be tempting to try your hand at the various forms of digital marketing, and, while there’s a place for this, they’re often better off approaching a digital agency to do their digital marketing for them.

What Do Digital Agencies Do?

As the digital marketing options available are wide and varied, as are the types of digital agencies. Some will focus on specific areas that they’re experts in, some will be able to focus on a broader range of marketing avenues, some (often larger agencies) will be able to offer a ‘full service’, providing everything under the digital marketing sun.

Therefore, the services offered by digital agencies differ. Here’s a list of some of the typical services provided by digital agencies, with most agencies offering one, some or all of these:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
  • Market Research
  • Web Design & Development
  • Content Creation/Writing
  • Copywriting
  • Graphic Design
  • Paid Social Media Marketing
  • Organic Social Media Marketing
  • Brand Development
  • Email Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing

What is the Difference Between a Creative Agency and a Digital Agency?

Typically, a creative agency will be more focused on creating advertising campaigns and productions, such as TV campaigns and billboards, as well as coming up with overarching marketing strategies. Their work covers both digital and more traditional approaches to marketing.

Digital agencies, on the other hand, are devoted to marketing online. They implement their advertisements, websites and campaigns purely within digital platforms, with this being their specialisation.

Some creative or traditional agencies do offer digital marketing, but a dedicated team of digital experts are more often than not the best option if you want to grow your business and attract more customers and leads online.

What’s the Difference Between Traditional and Digital Marketing Agencies and Their Respective Techniques?

To use an analogy of a billboard: a traditional marketing agency might put an eye-catching, well-written billboard on a motorway for potential customers to see. It has no way of filtering who will see this ad. This may draw some customers and leads in but, invariably, many drivers won’t be interested.

A digital marketing agency will put an eye-catching, well-written ‘billboard’ on a ‘motorway’ but they will only show the ad to people who meet a certain criteria and are therefore more likely to be interested in your products or services. And they’ll do this across multiple ‘motorways’, tailored for multiple customer bases. This is  far more effective as a way to attract more customers and leads.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Digital Agency?

So, you know what a digital agency is and what they offer. Your next thought might be: “Do I need one?”.

Businesses managing their own digital marketing certainly can work, especially large companies that can hire an in-house team to do it. However, even then the expertise on offer from a digital agency may be hard to match, and for people running smaller businesses, they might not have the time or enough know-how to effectively manage their own digital marketing.

The budget wasted on trying to develop your own digital marketing skills and experimenting with the various aspects of it may be far better off going towards outsourcing it to a professional and experienced agency.

Not only are digital agencies experts at growing businesses and reaching goals, but they’ve been through the processes time and time again, and they know the most efficient and cost effective methods and processes for getting your business where you want it to be. Furthermore, the digital agencies will have access to a wide range of analytics and data, and the knowledge and insight of how to interpret them. This means that the results they produce can be benchmarked and measured. This leaves business owners with the time to focus on their business, doing what they do best - planning and running their business.

How To Choose the Right Digital Agency for Your Business

Choosing the right agency that suits your business is hugely important. Choose the wrong one, and it can cost you time, money and opportunities for growth.

When searching for digital agencies, you may come across large agencies that have major, well known clients, generally situated in larger cities. While these are suited for some, the large, often expensive, inner city firms aren’t the best fit for everyone.

For example, have a search of your local area to see if there are any digital agencies that suit your business and its goals, as there are many benefits to working with a local agency. As a digital marketing agency local to Oxford and Oxfordfordshire, Beyond Your Brand works with a number of clients across Oxfordshire. This helps us offer a more personal approach, being able to regularly meet clients and building a relationship, something that can be hugely important. We also have knowledge of the local area and can therefore offer marketing insights that more remote agencies cannot.

Most agencies are available for a free, no obligation chat. So reach out; this is a great way to find out if the prospective agency is a good fit for you and your business. These consultations by themselves can be very useful in learning what aspects of your business need improvement.

You should also consider the clients the digital agency already has. If they are already working with clients of a similar size or from a similar industry to yours, then they will already have experience of working with a business like yours, and may be able to offer unique insights to help you grow.

Ultimately, working with a digital marketing agency should be a partnership. Discussions of your business’ goals are important, and it’s crucial that the digital agency has an understanding of your business. Good agencies will put these principles at the forefront of this partnership, whilst keeping you informed and updated throughout the process.

Find out more about choosing the right digital agency in our dedicated article.

How Much Do Digital Agencies Charge?

As with many things in this article, what digital agencies charge varies from agency to agency. Depending on the experience level, location, and services on offer, there is a wide range of prices that digital marketing agencies charge.

Larger agencies will naturally attract larger clients with a bigger budget, smaller agencies will attract smaller clients, and their pricing is likely to be set accordingly. However, this doesn’t mean that the more expensive, the better the service. Similarly, be mindful of companies charging particularly low prices, such as one-man-bands. It is important to consider the breadth of expertise and the availability a small agency or freelancer may have.

When thinking about your budget, you shouldn’t bankrupt your business just to use a digital agency. Most digital marketing agencies will be honest with you about what you can achieve with your budget. Although, no matter how big or small your budget, you can often achieve something positive through digital marketing.

Looking for a Digital Agency You Can Depend On?

Digital agencies have become integral to many businesses and their growth. They have opened up and perfected a number of ways of getting businesses out there into the digital sphere. They take this vital work off your hands so you can focus on running your business.

Get in touch with Beyond Your Brand to find out what we can do for you and your business. Give us a call for an honest and helpful chat about digital marketing and our services.

Get in touch

Find out about our work in all things marketing! Let us help you and your business grow.